"Texas Democrats plan presidential ePrimary"

"Texas Democrats have scheduled an online presidential poll to counter a GOP straw poll, but Democratic officials acknowledged they won't have much control over who clicks a vote.

Starting Friday, visitors who log on to the state party's Web site will have the chance to vote for one of the Democratic presidential contenders and to mention the election issues they're concerned about.

Party officials said they'll work to monitor responses to make sure only Texans' votes are counted in the "ePrimary Poll." But that could include Texas Republicans.

Party spokeswoman Amber Moon said the poll will be worthwhile.

"This is open to a wide universe of people who want to be involved in the political process, who want to be involved in our party's effort to select our presidential nominee," she said.

She said she's not worried about Republicans participating.

"Republicans aren't participating in their own straw poll," she said.

The Texas GOP straw poll is Saturday in Fort Worth. Hans Klingler, spokesman and political director for the Texas Republican Party, dismissed the Democrats' online poll.

"The Republican Party of Texas is bringing together thousands of our grass-roots leaders from across Texas this weekend in Fort Worth to voice their choice for president of the United States," Klingler said. "Unfortunately, it looks like the Texas Democratic Party's only hope is to do that in a virtual world."

Texas lawmakers dashed both major political parties' hopes of moving up the state's 2008 presidential primaries. They both wanted the Legislature to move the March 4 primary to Feb. 5. The Texas House approved the bill, but it died in the Senate.

Both the Democrat or Republican polls could suffer from shortcomings in their methodology.

The National Council on Public Polls refers to online polls as "pseudo-polls."

"All these pseudo-polls suffer from the same problem: the respondents are self-selected," according to the council's guidelines.

The Republican poll won't be a scientific sampling of state party members, because those casting ballots must have been a delegate or alternate to a recent GOP state or national convention. That means the winner will be selected by voters who are the most conservative of Republicans.

The Democratic online poll extends through Sept. 7. Results will be announced Sept. 10."